Ex-BYU Cougar Trent Plaisted is a basketball globetrotter
By jordan winnett
Special to The TribuneFirst published Apr 04 2013 02:50PM
Limoges, France • Globetrotting is usually reserved for newly graduated college folk that want to explore the world for a few months or a year before returning home to find a full-time job and start a career.
Trent Plaisted has somehow managed to maintain his globetrotting status with a unique twist, going on five years since leaving Brigham Young University in 2008.
Plaisted, 26, currently calls France home. The former 46th overall selection of the then-Seattle Supersonics currently suits up for Limoges in the Ligue Nationale de Basket.
Limoges is the current stop for Plaisted, but there have been many since his days in Provo.
Traded on draft night to the Pistons in 2008, Plaisted was told to head over to Europe to hone his skills for one season with a guarantee from Pistons’ brass he would be in a NBA uniform the following season.
Less than two months after signing with Angelico Biella in the Italian league, the 6-foot-11 forward developed a herniated disc in his lower back, forcing him to return to the U.S. for surgery.
Failing to fulfill his one-year agreement in Europe, prospects with the Pistons fizzled, so Plaisted jumped back across the pond in 2009 to play with KK Zadar in Croatia.
Although thoroughly enjoying his time in Zadar, calling the quaint city next to the Adriatic Sea "a really fun place that’s kind of like my European home," the former San Antonio prep standout switched allegiances and signed with KK Cedevita for the 2010 campaign in the capital city of Zagreb.
The Croatian adventure eventually ended, but the air miles continued to pile up in 2011, when Plaisted left to finish out the season with Euroleague club BC Zalgiris in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Undeterred by change, he signed on for the 2011-12 season with former Utah Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko’s old club, BC Cherkasy, in Ukraine.
"Ukraine wasn’t my favorite stop," said a hobbled Plaisted, who was dealing with an inflamed ankle following Limoges’ recent home loss to Elan Chalon.
"It was miserable. They were paying me a pretty good chunk of change, but I didn’t have a car and the coach didn’t speak any English, so after two months I actually paid to get out of my contract."
So, Plaisted jumped ship and finished the season with Alia a Petkim in Izmir, Turkey.
Now, playing on his seventh team in his sixth different country — and just five seasons removed from BYU — Plaisted temporarily resides in west-central France.
Limoges (pop. 250,000) sits 229 miles south of Paris, with Bordeaux to the West and Lyon to the East.
Traveling for a few weeks can take its toll, but going on five years of living out of a suitcase seemingly hasn’t affected the nomadic former Cougar.
"I used to be very rigid, and still am a little, but the lifestyle has mellowed me out and now I’m just free-flowing."
With his latest country count at 25 or 26, including long stops in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, the more laid-back Plaisted has had more than a few interesting tales along the way.
"Man, I have some crazy, I mean wild, wild stories. If you do this for five or six years, you end up with some crazy stories. My mom doesn’t like to hear the stories I have to tell," laughs Plaisted.
Luckily, Plaisted has his friends as outlets, as the Orem resident returns each summer to train with former BYU players. He says a lot of his time is spent in the office of a friend’s company.
If mom doesn’t want to hear it, somebody should.
More so than on court, which forces adjustments from league to league across Europe, the adjustment off the floor can be difficult for many Americans accustomed to a North American way of life.
"There are some people that do this job that can’t handle the transition [to a new culture and language], so they don’t really like it very much. I don’t really have an answer other than I just do. When you’re thrown to the fire, you just kind of do. It’s something you figure out."
Plaisted’s travelling résumé not only helps with on-court play but also assisted in securing his current contract with Limoges.
"It’s a huge deal. The reason I’m here is because when I was [playing] in Lithuania I had a Greek coach. The coach there was [Ilias Zouros] who coached the Greek National Team in 2011 (Plaisted’s current coach, Panagiotis Giannakis, led Greece’s national squad from 2004-08). So, when Limoges needed to sign a player, they looked for a player they could trust and called their friends and I was their guy. That’s kind of how it works here."
So what does next season hold for the nomadic Cougar?
"I have no idea," laughs Plaisted. "I wish I knew the plan. If I did I’d tell you."
After a strong start with Limoges, Plaisted has been hampered by injury. He currently is averaging 6.8 ppg through 11 games.
On-court stats are only half of the tale, as Plaisted has enjoyed a life experience few share; a thought not lost on the reflective big man.
"I’m privileged to do what I do, but it’s difficult. It’s hard to be in a country by yourself and not know the language. But at the same time it provides a lot of experience. I’ve grown more as a person traveling than I ever thought I would. It’s been a unique adventure."